Turning 30 is a terrifying prospect for a lot of people, even if, in practical terms, nothing really changes when you wake up on the morning of that dreaded birthday. Psychologically speaking, however, the impact of reaching this particular milestone can be huge.
It can feel like the pressure to be a ‘grown-up’ has suddenly increased tenfold, and with our 20s suddenly behind us, we can experience a sense of loss and regret, as though time is running out to follow our dreams.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. It’s all about perspective, and taking the time to do these four things will help set you up to tackle the challenges of life after 30 and eliminate regrets.
1. Take risks and fail
There’s nothing to say you should stop taking risks once you reach your 30s, but are you really all that likely to if you never have before?
Failure is a part of life and shouldn’t put us off trying new things, but all too often, that isn’t the case. The good news is, the more often you take risks that don’t quite work out, the more courage you develop to face the challenges life throws at you in the future.
Taking risks in your 20s, regardless of the outcome, helps you develop a thicker skin, which sets you up nicely for more success in your 30s. You’ll learn a lot, too, and that’s never a bad thing.
2. Explore what you like… and what you don’t like
There’s plenty of time to stick to one thing later, so take the opportunity to explore who you are and what you want. Not sure about your job? Try something different while you can. And if you don’t know whether or not you’ll like the alternative, you can always change again. How will you know whether something else is better for you if you don’t give it a go?
Use your 20s to find out what you like, who you like, and what you want to do with the rest of your life. There’s no need to make any firm decisions just yet, and when you do, you’ll be more certain they’re the right ones for you.
The longer you leave it to make a change, the harder it is, and that makes you feel pressured into settling for a less than perfect life. Take the chance to try as much as you can early on and you’ll have a fully developed idea of where you’re headed.
3. Figure out which learning methods work best for you
People often say that we never stop learning, and it’s true in every sense. For our personal and professional development, we continually educate ourselves throughout life, and at no point is this more important than the crucial growth and career advancement stage during our 30s.
Your 20s are the perfect time to figure out how you learn most effectively so that by the time you hit 30, you’ll already have it down.
Do you learn things best from other people? Are you more someone whose personal growth comes from contemplative time spent alone? A big reader who gains the most knowledge from books? Maybe you’re a mix, or something else entirely. Whatever it is that helps you learn, it’s for you and you alone to figure out, and the sooner you do so, the more time you’ll have to put it into practice for lifelong improvement.
4. Travel to a lot of different places
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” Mark Twain famously wrote, and, as it happens, science has proven him right .
When we experience different cultures, we gain a greater understanding of the world as a whole and its interconnected nature, and that is a huge positive in terms of personal growth, building trust and empathy towards our fellow humans. Extensive travel is beneficial on a more simple level, too. It can be relaxing, exciting and everything in between, and gives us experiences that aren’t possible otherwise.
While it’s still possible – and absolutely recommended – to travel whenever we can throughout life, for most people it’s easiest during our 20s, before too much responsibility sets in and we suddenly don’t have the time anymore.
What’s more, the memories you make traveling before turning 30 will set you up with an enduring wanderlust that makes you far more likely to keep traveling later in life, with all the benefits it brings.